Rajma. North Indian Spiced Kidney Beans

Rajma is a North Indian kidney-bean curry that is usually eaten with white rice. Rajma is one of those dishes I make when I’ve run out of fresh veggies or don’t feel like cutting a bunch of veggies. It’s quick and easy yet nutritious and delicious all at the same time. If you are like me and always have a few non-perishable goods on hand like a selection of canned beans and tomato sauce, rajma will become one of those go-to meals to make in an instant.


For this rajma dish I use canned kidney beans, canned tomato sauce and any minimal cutting involved is reserved for ginger, garlic and onions. Here is a quick and easy recipe for rajma. Remember I said quick and easy.  But if you would rather use dried kidney beans feel free to soak dry kidney beans over night and then cook them before making this dish.

Rajma. North Indian Kidney Beans Curry

serves 4-5


  • 4 cans kidney beans drained and rinsed – 15oz cans. Each can is about 2 cups.
  • 1 can tomato sauce – 1 15oz can
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 4-6 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp garam masala (optional), I like my rajma without garam masala but the traditional recipe does call for garam masala. You can add it for a spicy nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon type of flavor
  • 1/2 tsp paprika or chili powder
  • Salt
  • Oil
  • 4 tbsp chopped cilantro


In a large pot heat 2 tbsp oil. Add ginger, garlic and onions and sauté until onions are translucent.

Add all the spices and toast in onions for a few seconds. Add kidney beans and 4 cups water, salt and stir. Cook covered for 10-15 minutes to allow the kidney beans to become more tender. After 10 minutes, add tomato sauce and cook for additional 5 minutes. Rajma is ready. Top with chopped cilantro and it’s ready.


Cook’s Notes: Serve rajma over rice or quinoa and you have a complete protein packed vegetarian meal in minutes.

7 thoughts on “Rajma. North Indian Spiced Kidney Beans”

  1. I use the same ingredients like you in making Rajma except the canned beans. Like you mentioned I soak the beans overnight and cook it. One day I will try your version since it’s easier to make.

  2. Kalpana Sheth, your uncle used to love Rajma specially the Kashmiri version . Once , he took me for dinner at his friend’s home , a Kashmiri Pandit … typically , the Pandits do not use Garlic and Onions in their Cuisine . But , Rajma tasted Heavenly . Secret – a pinch of Asafoetida , Lots of Ripe Red Tomatoes , and Dark Red Kidney Beans soaked overnight . She also added Bay Leaves and a Cinnamon Stick while cooking Rajma … Fresh Ground masala , not garam masala . ( Black Cardamoms , Green Cardamoms , Cloves , Peppercorns all ground) and Chili powder , Coriander powder and Chili powder etc … Very nutritious Red Kidney Beans and cooked anyway , either the Punjabi way with Onions /Garlic or Kashmiri way …

    1. Also , Beans and Rice is popular In Spanish Cuisine . In Ernest Hemingway’s Novel , “Oldman and the Sea” , he mentions about Black Beans and Rice … But Red beans and Rice are equally popular in Spanish Cuisine .

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